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QUILT ALPHABET by Lesa Cline-Ransome


by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1453-1
Publisher: Holiday House

Rich illustrations and a rhyming text create a puzzle for each letter of the alphabet, inviting a young reader to guess what word the letter might represent. Warm-hearted and generous-spirited paintings provide visual answers. The answers are also found in a key at the end. Objects as American as Apples and Pie are utilized and the theme of Quilts sews it all together. A crazy-quilt pattern decorates the endpapers, each uppercase letter of the alphabet is framed as in the square of a quilt, and many of the illustrations are framed as well. With few exceptions, the objects are tangible, and within the experience of pre-schoolers. The few intangibles (Night, Yellow) are unexpected and therefore more difficult to guess. The oversized format and lush illustrations are strongly appealing; color in all of the paintings is rich and saturated. Painterly brush strokes add depth and elegance to the folksy style. Excellent book design features each letter and text in a way that is easy to see without interfering with the illustrations. The weakest element is the rhyming text. Although the clues are generally good, the rhymes are weakened by cliché. At worst, they suggest advertising copy, as for Apples: “Nature’s handpicked treat / Wholesome goodness to the core.” Some are simply confusing, as the tea Kettle “Captures the cold under its lid / And warms you through and through.” Nonetheless, the graphic appeal is so strong that youngsters in groups or on their own should be drawn to the pictures and to guessing the names of the objects. (Picture book. 3-6)